DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bubble or Froth-flotation is a technology widely used in the mining industry for ore beneficiation. With it valuable minerals are separated from unwanted material or from other valuable minerals by inducing them to float on the surface of a froth layer. The process starts by crushing and grinding the ore to a fine size, by which the individual mineral particles are separated from the waste rock and other mineral particles. The grinding is normally done in water with the resultant slurry called the pulp. This pulp is processed in the flotation vessels, which agitate the mixture and introduce air as small bubbles. The process utilizes certain chemicals to modify the surface properties of minerals. Other chemicals are used to generate the froth and still others to adjust the pH of the slurry. This picture shows the flotation vessels in a silver mine.
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